What is your current job title and responsibilities (please make sure we know your College, Department, etc.)?
Deputy General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel
My primary duties involve working with university administration on personnel issues, litigation management, student affairs, and administrative law. What this really means is that I spend a great deal of time on the phone and reading/answering emails. I think of the practice of law as problem-solving writ large, and I feel that I have solved problems here at UCF. There are always plenty of opportunities to do more, and UCF is a large complex organization that constantly challenges me. Which is just as it should be.
What is your history at UCF and before UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities)
Past title: Associate General Counsel (2002-2013) – same general duties as above.
Past employment: Associate, Ford Harrison LLP – Tampa, Florida – labor and employment litigation attorney. Associate, Carlton Fields Jordan Burt – Tampa, Florida – general litigation attorney.
What is your academic background?
BA – Political Science & Spanish – Vanderbilt University – summa cum laude
JD – University of Miami School of Law – with high honors
What is your favorite UCF memory?
Arguing before the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeals on behalf of UCF. A student case that was on appeal was my first opportunity to argue before one of the courts of appeal. I was so thrilled to have the chance, and it was because I was in-house counsel at UCF that I was able to do it.
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
I’d like to have the walkway from the Student Union over to the Memory Mall side of campus be named the “Youndy C. Cook Memorial Walk in the Wetlands.” My very close second choice would be to have the Reflecting Pond fountain named the “Fountain of Youndy.”
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
The new Athletics Director Danny White. He seems like an interesting character, and I’d really like an invitation to the Athletics Director’s box at one of the games this season.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
Scott Cole, Vice-President and General Counsel. Scott is a great colleague and collaborator. It has been an honor to work with him for 14 years.
What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
Semester in Madrid during my undergraduate years. Spending a semester in Madrid during college inspired me to major in Spanish, to consider various other options for my future, and to pursue a lifelong study of Spanish. In fact, I attended a UCF short-term study abroad program to Spain in 2010, and it was a blast.
What is your favorite restaurant or food?
There are so many great restaurants in our area, and I really like food, so it’s impossible for me to pick just one restaurant or food. That said, here are my least favorite foods: pickles, mayonnaise, vinegar, Brussel sprouts, boudin (or any blood sausage), liver, and bleu cheese.
What is your favorite vacation destination?
My favorite vacation destination is wherever I’m headed to next. This year, that will be northern California, Utah, Montana, and Wyoming on a whirlwind road trip. But if I don’t have a vacation in the works, then my answer is always Spain. Pretty much anywhere in Spain and pretty much anytime of the year.